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MMD > Archives > December 2003 > 2003.12.15 > 04Prev  Next


What's an Orchestrion?
By Francoise Dussour

Dear MMD readers, you know and use the word "orchestrion".  But what
does the word orchestrion mean to you?  Is it a mechanical instrument
with a piano?  With piano and percussion instruments?  With organ,
piano and percussions?

Is the sort of system -- barrel [pinned cylinder], paper roll or
punched cards, mechanical or electric powered-- important with
this name "orchestrion"?

Thanks for your answer and best regards from France

Francoise Dussour

 [ A large organ with percussion, when it is played outdoors, is
 [ generally called a fair organ, but inside a hall it's a dance organ
 [ or (in a smaller room) a cafe organ.  When playing at a carousel
 [ it's a band organ or carousel organ.  Confusing!  Does the name
 [ change when the facade or the case is changed?  Does the name
 [ change with the style of music played -- orchestra music vs.
 [ military band music vs. popular dance music?
 [
 [ Art Reblitz wrote to me earlier this year: "The word orchestrion
 [ originally was used for everything from little roller organs all
 [ the way up to gigantic instruments.  But standard usage of the word
 [ orchestrion refers to a piano or organ with percussion."
 [
 [ Francoise says that in France a self-playing piano, with or without
 [ percussion, is called <le piano mecanique>.  -- Robbie


(Message sent Mon 15 Dec 2003, 20:45:26 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  an, Orchestrion, What's

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